Favorite Film Stocks for Black & White Photos
Before you send your film off for developing and scanning, you have a very important question to ask yourself as a photographer that will influence the look of your final photos: which film stock is best for what I'm shooting?
We asked five film photographers to share their favorite film for black & white photos. Here's what they had to say...
"Classic black & white Kodak film is timeless. I choose ISO 400. Whether it's medium-format or 35mm, it never lets me down and always inspires me to shoot more of it." – Meg Smith
"I love Kodak Tri-X 400. The strong black and whites in this stock are perfection when metered correctly, and in a pinch (aka dark caverns of hell, aka seattle in the winter) I can meter it at 3200 and have it pushed all the way to 6400 for crisp coverage. I value consistency and versatility, which makes this my favorite film of all time. " – Catherine Abegg
"I truly love black & white film! I shoot a variety of black & white film stocks, but my two primary films are Kodak Tri-X 400 & Ilford Delta 3200. Tri-X is so classic & super versatile. I can overexpose it or push it a couple stops depending on what look I’m going for. Delta 3200 gives me a really nice soft look with a beautiful grain for indoor window light during wedding day prep time or that fleeting last light portrait." – Chris Isham
"Give me all the grain! Delta 3200 is my absolute favorite B&W film stock. This is my go-to when I am shooting lifestyle newborn sessions and I want the image to focus on the connection and subject rather than the environment." – Lauren Muckler
"I usually use black & white film when light is scarce and push the film a couple of stops. Emphasizing grain works well with black and white photos. I also like the timeless appeal of black and white photos. I normally use Ilford HP5 Plus. I love the tonal graduation of this film, and it's also very good with shadow details " – KC Chan
And there you have it! Shooting black & white film presents a lot of great choices. Test them for yourself (and make sure to use your light meter).
Whether you love Ilford 120 film, Kodak in 35mm, or black & white disposable cameras, Richard can take care of your film developing and film scanning...